Plant tolerance to abiotic stress in a climate change scenario
Implications for food production and biodiversity conservation
Prof. Dr Dr H.C. Oscar Vicente
(Institute for Preservation and Improvement of Valencian Agrodiversity (COMAV), Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain)
Environmental stress conditions, particularly drought and soil salinity, are the major causes of the reduction of crop yields worldwide, a problem that is worsening due to the effects of climate change. The genetic improvement of drought and salt stress tolerance of our crops is the most promising strategy to rapidly increase the production of food needed to feed a growing human population in the next decades, but it requires a deep understanding of the mechanisms of plant stress tolerance.
On the other hand, climate change is also affecting negatively wild plant species and their natural ecosystems, including many taxa of high ecological interest, such as endemic, rare and threatened species. Elucidation of the stress response mechanisms of these plants will contribute to the design and implementation of conservation or regeneration programmes of the affected habitats.
Over the last years, we have investigated the mechanisms of water deficit and salt tolerance in a wide range of plants, including crop and wild species. Our main approach is performing comparative analyses of the responses to stress of genetically related taxa with different degrees of tolerance, for example, wild species of the same genus adapted to different natural habitats or different cultivars of the same crop. In this talk, some of our results will be presented, to show how this strategy – complementary to the more frequent use of model species – is providing some novel results of interest, allowing us to distinguish, for a particular species or group of related species, those responses that are relevant for stress tolerance and those that are not.
CV of the speaker HERE.
Invitation to the talk HERE.